Friday, 21 October 2016

Arthurian Legends - Excalibur

Over the years I've read lots of stories about King Arthur, and of course they have influenced my re-telling. I'm not a fan of the Grail stories, but love the mystical tales and the crossover with faerie and magic.

The stories developed over hundreds of years and are influenced by different writers and the ages in which they lived. The layers upon layers of stories are confusing, so I'm not about to go into those; there are hundreds of books written about them. There are also hundreds of books examining whether there really was an Arthur who ruled Britain.
I'm currently reading a fascinating book called Pendragon: The Definitive account of the Origins of Arthur, by Steve Blake and Scott Lloyd. They look for the origins of King Arthur and in doing so examine fragments of tales from Welsh histories. The first author to make King Arthur popular was Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae and he references the early Welsh material, so this is where their investigation begins.
In the early stories though there is no Excalibur. Geoffrey calls Arthur's sword Caliburnus, possibly taken from the Welsh 'Caledfwhlch' meaning Battlebreach or Hard Breach. The name Excalibur was introduced by Chretien de Troyes in 1180, and that is the name I have used in Tom's Inheritance as it is now so closely associated with Arthur.
Excalibur symbolises power and signifies the rightful leader of Britain. It has the power to cut steel and it blinds enemies. It was forged by a skilled blacksmith, probably from the Otherworld or Faery, and was given to Arthur by the Lady of Lake - she was also a late introduction to the tales.  In Tom's Inheritance the Lady of the Lake uses Excalibur to bargain with Merlin, for Arthur. To do what? Ah, but you'll have to read the book!
Excalibur's scabbard also had special powers to protect the owner from bleeding to death from battle wounds, however Morgan Le Fay steals it and throws it into a lake, disappearing forever.
Arthur has other weapons, some with magical powers, but I'll talk about those another time. They may make an appearance in my next book, Twice Born.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Sunday news!

I managed to get some writing done on Tom 3 - I just won't count it on NaNoWriMo. So far there's wolves, and a tournament, and the usual gang are rolling in to join the party.

And look, it's Spring! Cherry Blossom and Kowhai.

The Miranda Contract by Ben Langdon

This review is on a book by another indie author. I've already reviewed it on Goodreads and Amazon, but thought I'd share it here.

The Miranda Contract is about superheroes, or uber humans as Ben Langdon calls them; humans with naturally enhanced powers.
The plot centres around Dan Galkin who has the ability to draw on electricity and use it. Otherwise he's a normal enough kid, trying to avoid being dragged into super-villainy by his crazy grandfather, the Mad Russian, who seems determined to make Dan pay if he refuses to comply.In order to get Dan to join the game he manipulates a few other uber humans into his plans to kill the innocent Miranda, the global reality superstar singer. Dan finds himself in one mad race to try to protect Miranda, himself, and other innocent people, whilst for a while having his powers suppressed.
The story is told mainly in the present, but also uses flashbacks to show how the Mad Russian manipulated Dan as a young teen and how he made friends with other uber humans. It is also told through various points of view, mainly Dan, Miranda, and the Mad Russian, although as other characters are introduced we also see from their viewpoints.
The action is pretty much non-stop, the story starting mid-action scene, and it progresses from there. This makes for a fun action-packed ride, although my preference would have been for some slower sequences, as those that were there worked well and allowed for greater character development. I would also have preferred the story to be told through less viewpoints, which would have sharpened the story.
However, having said that, the two main characters were very engaging; there was a nice spark to their relationship which grew and changed with the story. And the story was lots of fun, very energetic, and it was great to see Dan progress from a teen hiding from his uber powers to fully embracing them. I'm curious to see what happens next!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Indie Author Day and NaNoWriMo

In honour of Indie Author Day on October 8th in the US, I've lowered the price of Tom's Inheritance to $0.99 on Smashwords and Amazon, and it's 99 pence in the UK. I'll leave it at that price for a couple of weeks - enjoy! Links are under Books.

Meanwhile I've signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I'll be endeavoring to write 50000 words in November. I'll be writing Tom 3 - it's a working title. Seeing as I've only written one chapter (which I cannot count), it's the perfect challenge, although I'm not sure I'll be saying that by the end of November...

I'll keep you updated.